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What Is the NCAA Evaluation Period?

 

The NCAA Evaluation Period is a specific time of year when college coaches are allowed to watch an athlete compete in person or visit their school. However, coaches are not allowed to communicate with that athlete (or parents) off the college campus. Coaches can sit in the stands during a recruit’s practice or game, as well as visit the recruit’s school. This gives college coaches a chance to talk to the recruit’s coach, teachers or guidance counselor to get a better understanding of the student-athlete’s character. After the visit, the coach may call or email the recruit and let them know how their experience was at the school or game.

The NCAA Evaluation Period is just that: a time set aside for evaluation. While coaches can’t talk to athletes off the college campus, they can still call, email, text and direct message recruits. Evaluation periods are very specific, and not all sports have them. The only sports with these periods are DI football (FBS and FCS), DI Men’s/Women’s Basketball, DI Women’s Volleyball, DI Softball, DII Football and DII Men’s/Women’s Basketball.

 

What to expect during the NCAA Evaluation Period

The evaluation period is a time for coaches to evaluate athletes who they are seriously recruiting. By this point, the coach has been communicating with the recruit, has watched their highlight film and probably checked out their academic eligibility. The evaluation period is an opportunity to do two different things:

  • Watch the recruit compete in-person. Highlight films can only show so much of an athlete’s ability and character on the field. When evaluating the recruit in-person, coaches can see what goes on between the highlights. The coach will either attend a “made for recruiting” showcase/tournament or an athlete’s practice. They are evaluating the athlete’s attitude, body language and how they interact with their teammates and coaches. In other words, they want to know who you are as an athlete.
  • Evaluate a recruit’s character. Coaches might drop in at a recruit’s school during the evaluation period. They will seek out a recruit’s guidance counselor, coach and perhaps other key members of the staff who interact with the recruit on a daily basis. Some coaches have been known to talk to the school janitor or team managers! The purpose? The coach wants to get a better sense of the athlete’s personality and character to ensure they would be a positive addition to the team.

Insider Tip: Be aware of the impression that you leave on the people you’re around every day, and always be prepared for a coach to drop in at your school.

Even though coaches can watch recruits compete during the evaluation period, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will just show up to your game or school one day. Remember, coaches have a lot of recruits to evaluate, and they have to plan their time wisely. They are only able to visit recruits who they are seriously interested in. By the time the evaluation occurs, the coach already has a good idea of a recruit’s talent level. Instead, coaches want to see those intangibles like character, leadership, sportsmanship and coachability.

Insider Tip: While coaches typically use evaluation periods to visit high school juniors and sometimes seniors, that doesn’t mean freshmen and sophomores are off the hook. Coaches will notice any standout underclassmen who are on the team of the athlete they are evaluating. It’s not uncommon for a talented underclassman to receive questionnaires or general mail from coaches after an evaluation takes place at their school.

 

When is the NCAA Evaluation Period?

For all the DI sports not listed below, the NCAA has established a basic recruiting rule around evaluations. Coaches are able to evaluate each recruit seven times throughout the year. Those seven evaluations are a combination of two different types of in-person visits:

  • An evaluation in which the coach can talk to the recruit and their family
  • An evaluation in which the coach cannot talk to the recruit and their family

Of the seven in-person evaluations coaches can make per recruit, no more than three of them can be evaluations in which the coach is able to talk to the recruit and their family. Thankfully, it’s up to the coach to keep track of these in-person evaluations; however, it can only benefit you to know what the rules are.

Insider Tip: You should always be prepared for a coach to visit you. However, because each coach has a limited number of evaluations per athlete, they will probably schedule their visit with you rather than just showing up.

 

Division I Football FBS

  • September, October and November: College coaches can conduct evaluations during 42 days of their choosing (or 54 for U.S. service academies); coaches are not allowed to visit an athlete’s school on more than one calendar day during this time
  • April 15 – May 31, 2020: Coaches can take 168 evaluation days (or 216 for U.S. service academies). An authorized recruiter can use one evaluation day to assess a recruit’s athletic ability. Then, they can us another evaluation day to assess the recruit’s academic qualifications. Coaches/recruiters can do both assessments on the same day, and then take a second evaluation day to evaluate athletic ability again if they choose.

Division I Football FCS

  • September, October and November: College coaches can conduct evaluations during 42 days of their choosing (or 54 for Service Academies); coaches are not allowed to visit an athlete’s school on more than one calendar day during this time
  • April 15 – May 31, 2020: Coaches can take 168 evaluation days (or 216 for U.S. service academies). An authorized recruiter can use one evaluation day to assess a recruit’s athletic ability. Then, they can us another evaluation day to assess the recruit’s academic qualifications. Coaches/recruiters can do both assessments on the same day, and then take a second evaluation day to evaluate athletic ability again if they choose.

Division I Men’s Basketball

  • April 24-26, 2020 (only for certified events)
  • TBD for NBPA Top 100 Camp only
  • NBA Draft Combine: Evaluation period (for combine only)
  • June 19 (6 pm) –21 (4 pm), 2020
  • June 26 (6 pm) – 28 (4 pm), 2020
  • July 9-12, 2020
  • July 21-26, 2020 (only NCAA College basketball academy)

Division I Women’s Basketball

  • September 30, 2019 – February 29, 2020 (only scholastic events)
    • November 11-14, 2019: Dead period
    • December 24-26, 2019: Dead period
  • April 17-21, 2020 (only scholastic events)
  • April 24-26, 2020 (only certified nonscholastic events)
  • May 15-17, 2020 (only certified nonscholastic events)
  • July 6-12, 2020 (only certified nonscholastic events and institutional camps)
  • July 21-25, 2020 (only certified nonscholastic events and institutional camps)*

*A prospective student-athlete may not make an unofficial visit during the July evaluation periods unless she has signed a NLI or the institution’s written offer of admission and/or financial aid, or the institution has received a financial deposit from the prospective student-athlete in response to an offer of admission

Division I Men's/Women's Cross Country and Track & Field

  • August 1-21, 2019

Division I Women's Lacrosse

  • November 8 (5 pm) -10, 2019
  • November 15 (5 pm) -17, 2019
  • November 22 (5 pm) -24, 2019
  • June 12 – July 31, 2020
    • Except: July 3-5, 2020 is a dead period

Division I Women’s Volleyball

  • Coaching staff is permitted to evaluate recruits on one day only, starting the Thursday of the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Volleyball Championship through the Sunday immediately following the championship. The event they recruit at must be within a 30-mile radius of the championship site, and they cannot attend any events that take place at the same time as a collegiate game.

Division I Women’s Beach Volleyball

  • December 2-17, 2019
  • January 1-17, 2020
  • May 1-22, 2020
    • Except: April 29 – May 3, 2020 is a dead period. Coaches coaches can evaluate on only one day and may attend only one event on that day during this period within a 30-mile radius of the site of the championship.

Division I Softball

  • August 12 – November 24, 2019 (only scholastic practice and competition activities)
    • November 11-14, 2019 is a dead period
    • October 19-20, 2019 (only scholastic and nonscholastic practice and competition activities)
    • October 26-27, 2019 (only scholastic and nonscholastic practice and competition activities)
    • November 2-3, 2019 (only scholastic and nonscholastic practice and competition activities)
    • November 9-10, 2019 (only scholastic and nonscholastic practice and competition activities)
    • November 16-17, 2019 (only scholastic and nonscholastic practice and competition activities)
    • November 23-24, 2019 (only scholastic and nonscholastic practice and competition activities)
  • January 2 – May 25, 2020 (only scholastic practice and competition activities)
  • Any high school regional and state championship competition that doesn’t occur during a dead period should be treated like an evaluation period.

Division II Football

  • During the recruit’s high school or junior college football season, starting with the first regularly scheduled practice
  • November 1 – December 1, 2019
    • Except: Junior college recruits should treat the period from their last postseason game until November 30, 2018 as a contact period.
  • April 15 – May 31, 2020: Evaluation period, excluding Memorial Day and Sundays; when evaluations aren’t taking place, recruits should treat it like a quiet period.
    • Except: March 10 – May 31, 2020 is a quiet period
    • Except: Coaches choose four weeks through this time in which they will not be conducting evaluations.
  • Coaching staff members are allowed to evaluation a high school all-star football game at any time of the year as long as the game takes place in the same state as the university or college.

Division II Women’s Basketball

  • June 15 – August 1, 2019
  • The period of time between the recruit’s first high school or junior college game and last game
  • During any high school all-star game that occurs within the state in which the member institution is located
  • May 18 – June 14, 2020: Coaches can evaluate recruits during four nonscholastic women’s basketball events in this time period

Division II Men’s Basketball

  • June 15 – August 1, 2019
  • The period of time between the recruit’s first and final high school or junior college game
  • Any high school all-star game that occurs in the same state as the college or university
  • April 3-7 (12:01 pm), 2020: Evaluations are allowed at any all-star game held during the final weekend of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship that’s held in the host city of Atlanta, Georgia.
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